I saw a lot of employers posting about Mental Health Awareness Week. It is absolutely crucial we start conversations about the realities of mental illness and it’s great that it’s happening, but I wish some employers would stop kidding themselves.
Everyone has mental health. We all know some days are good and some days are bad. Negative thoughts, intrusive thoughts, our minds confused and not coping day-to-day.
Stress, anxiety, and depression lead to other mental health problems if they are not recognised, diagnosed or treated in time. Speaking up and seeking help, and receiving it from people who care, is key to a better future.
When I was younger, I had an idealised view of university. I created montages in my head of joining societies, making life-long friends and enthusiastically walking to lectures and seminars. In 2016 however, my outlook was different. Throughout my adolescence, I had struggled with anorexia and after a four-year battle, I was now able to become a Psychology student. Yet instead of feeling optimistic, I was filled with an intense fear.
When we think of stigma and mental health, we tend to think of hurtful societal reactions and prejudice based on negative stereotypes. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Those with mental health problems also frequently suffer from self-stigma. This is where a person takes on wider social prejudices about mental illness, internalizes them, starts to believe and incorporate them into their self-image.